Every time a senseless tragedy happens mental health care is brought up as a cause for the newest homeland terroristic threat, the lone wolf shooters.
Of course, something is wrong with these men/boys who reasons unknown decides to unleash horror on unsuspecting communities. Studies have shown suggesting that some of them were taking the same or similar psychiatric drugs. Or they had latched on to groups that had some of the same ideologies.
Beyond that, what do you know about today’s mental health care system in America?
We all know that decades ago the powers that be shut down the mental hospitals all throughout the country, albeit some of them were poorly run, they took government money, and drained the patient’s bank accounts then subjected the more mentally ill people to mental, emotional, and physical abuse.
Their attempts to tell someone about their treatment, if they were physically capable of talking where ignored because they were deemed crazy. There was a time women could be committed when she went into menopause.
So they shut these places down, threw these people out and let them loose on the streets of our country with little to no hope. You see them near bus stops in big cities or downtown near where people gather. We try not to make eye contact with them as we rush past when they are begging us for money.
Mental illness and another day in paradise
Yes, the homeless population does make up a significant percentage of the mentally ill people. Many of them get a government check but live on the streets because they aren’t physically capable of doing basic tasks like paying the bills, shopping, day to day things needed to survive.
However they are far from the people in this country who suffer from mental issues, many often don’t know there is anything wrong, and they remain untreated. These people live next door, teach at your kid’s schools, work next to you. They look normal, act normal often they seem very funny and charming. People with mental illness can be anyone anywhere.
I remember when I had kids every new mom got sent home with a care package. Including a prescription for pain medication and antidepressants or whatever the “IN” pill of the year was. These usually were prescribed by a gynecologist, not psychiatrists. There was no follow up support, or suggestions.
Just lip service
Just a little pep talk, it’s not uncommon for new moms to feel blue and depressed after giving birth. Just take these magical pills, the side effects may be harsh at first but if they continue past a month give us a call. Oh, good luck. And this “protocol” passes for what we call ‘treating’ a patient. Just throw a psychiatric drug at a person and calling it a day.
However, moving right along.
In recent weeks someone close to me found themselves in mental despair. The normal stresses of finances, work, and family in addition to untreated mental illness, most likely PTSD. He found himself in that hopeless state some of us have found ourselves.
The thought of giving up and ending it all became a real thing.
Enough for him to reach out to the national suicide hotline after of course reaching out to me and me not being able to calm him. He spoke with them for about 20 mins; they asked to talk to me. Asked me to make sure any weapons he could harm himself where taken away and gave me a list of local services to help. I took the information and thanked the operator. Got off the phone, made sure anything he could harm himself with was not accessible while he spoke to our area crisis line.
This episode happened over the weekend, so never have any issues on the weekend, those don’t go well.
He spoke with someone; they felt there was enough of a concern to have an officer pick him up. A police officer showed up, who was very patient and understanding. The officer took him to the nearest hospital. He has excellent health insurance. No reason whatsoever for him not to receive an adequate quality of care. Five hours later he calls me to pick him up. Not only did he receive zero care, but they also did not admit him or his emergency contact or offer to call anyone for him,
They merely let someone who admitted to being in a dangerous place mentally and who expressed the desire to harm himself or someone else.
In contacting the hospital, I asked these questions. What if? What if he snapped and decided to unleash his anger on anyone or everyone he came to pass? Even a staff member because they were ignoring his cries for help. I had a rather lengthy conversation with the person at the hospital, which is in writing. Their answers to me where this facility does not have an adult behavioral unit.
The current policy: catch and release
Their policy was to evaluate and release the patient. When I asked why they failed to transport him to a hospital that could help, He followed instructions given to him by the crisis center. The officer took him where he was instructed to take him per their policy. His insurance would have paid for it.
Unfortunately, people without insurance have it 1000 times worse. The hospital informed me that in the future he should Google area hospitals, as all have websites that list their services. Go to one that provides the services needed. So that’s what someone in a mental crisis is going to do?
According to this hospital, they should Google and drive themselves to the nearest hospital that will meet their needs.
In speaking about this, another woman told me about a friend walking into an ER seeking help for suicidal feelings. They had a foreign doctor evaluate him over facetime. When he realized he wasn’t going to receive support, he left. The hospital had him arrested to protect them from liability.
How safe do you feel now?
That was just my experience, but this happens every day. When we say, we have no mental health care in this country that is true. Unless a person has someone in their life that they trust to do the work to get them help for their mental issues they will likely go untreated.
Convincing someone they are mentally ill is one of the hardest things to do.
How many more lone wolf shooters will it take till we realize there is a serious issue on how we treat mental illness? The big pharmaceutical companies don’t mind shoving pills down the throats of people with a mental health condition, getting people addicted or realizing the side effects are more dangerous than what the person was facing without the drugs. At most, the say oops, and the drugs recalled. Some greedy attorney starts a lawsuit, and the person harmed gets a few dollars while the next dangerous drug finds its way to clinical studies and FDA approval. All developed for the future unsuspecting victims.